A wide range of wounds and injuries require surgical care. But thatís just the beginning. Surgery alone does not guarantee the proper healing of the wound. Damaged blood vessels, infections, or a lack of oxygen limits healing altogether. Furthermore, weeks can pass with no improvement, causing severe health risks. So how can patients improve recovery? Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can improve the healing of some of the most serious surgical site wounds.
HBOT in action
For decades, divers needed oxygen therapy to help recover from decompression sickness, also known as the bends. Over time, HBOT proved effective in treating a range of trauma injuries as well. The body needs a rich supply of oxygen to regenerate blood vessels and tissue. By using a pressurized chamber or room, patients can take in 100% pure oxygen. In several short sessions, HBOT accelerates blood vessel, stem cell, and plasma growth. Studies show a 59% improvement in healing. These 5 types of wounds have been shown to benefit from hyperbaric treatment.
1. Feeling the burn
Burn injuries affect close to 500,000 Americans yearly. In cases of dangerous 3rd- and 4th-degree burns, victims need extensive surgery to repair tissue. An added benefit to surgery is adding in HBOT. Oxygen therapy reduces scarring and infections in as little as 24 hours after the first treatment.
2. A serious crush
Serious car crashes or freak accidents are the main cause of crush injuries. These types of injuries involve crushing or crumpling of tissue, blood vessels, and bone. This causes serious blood loss. Consequently, crush injuries can cause compartment syndrome, a fatal condition. Crush injuries take months for proper healing and require advanced wound care. Adding in HBOT brings significant improvement in the time and quality of healing.
3. Helping skin graft success
Some injuries require a skin graft procedure to save the impacted area. This usually consists of taking skin from another area of the body. Skin grafting may involve replacing just the outer layer or both the outer and inner skin layers. In both procedures, there is a risk of infection and slow healing. HBOT could be the difference between healing success and failure.
4. Fixing the flap
Similar to skin grafting, a skin flap procedure transplants skin and tissue. On some occasions, skin, fat, and muscle need to be transferred or reattached. This requires a long and intensive healing process, with varying degrees of success. If treated early, HBOT accelerates healing and the overall success of the procedure.
5. Treating diabetic site wounds
Diabetic patients sometimes require foot surgery to treat dangerous ulcers. Diabetic ulcers, if untreated, can result in amputations. In some circumstances, even surgery cannot prevent an inevitable amputation. Thatís where HBOT comes in. Oxygen therapy can stimulate fresh nerve regeneration, tissue, and blood growth at the wound. Studies show diabetic patients with ulcers improve healing and avoid amputation.
Help healing with HBOT
Serious surgical wounds need the care and expertise of surgeons to begin the process of recovery. The more complex the wound, the more attention required after surgery. Adding oxygen therapy has proven to help a range of wounds like thermal burns and crush injuries. Speaking with a healthcare provider about how alternative treatments like HBOT can help shorten recovery time and improve site wounds.